LEED for Commercial Buildings

When it comes to green design, Chuck Lohre takes the LEED

ChuckLohreLEED Platinum Home/Office Project

Research director- Cincinnati Business Courier
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Jan 3, 2014

There’s a good chance you might miss marketing communications agency Lohre & Associates’ Over-the-Rhine office the first time you pass it.

The rugged, three-story brick row house could easily be mistaken for another trendy rehabbed residence primed for Cincinnati urbanites.

What’s inside, though, is the environmental brainchild of the agency’s president, Chuck Lohre. It’s just one of the green building projects that meld his architectural background with a genuine fascination with sustainability.

What’s exceptional about Lohre’s office, however, is that he only spent around $9,500 on the overhaul – including the $3,000 LEED certification fee. The bulk of the project, he said, was eased simply by “knowing how LEED works and enjoying the process.”

It’s no surprise, then, that Lohre finds respite in another beacon of architectural excellence: the Boulter house, a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed 1950s home. The house is what motivated him to seek to match Wright’s architectural innovation with his own creations.

“It’s what inspired me to learn more about green building,” he said. “I was trying to discover what happened to Mr. Wright’s organic architecture principals.”

What’s your earliest memory of being an environmental fanatic? Probably getting my falconer license in Kentucky when in high school. No guns, just you and your hawk doing it the old-fashioned way.

What’s the most unusual way Lohre & Associates conserves energy in its offices? Our sawdust pellet stove is an approved way to demonstrate renewable energy. The carbon from sawdust would be released in the atmosphere anyway by decay. Using wood to provide building products is sustainable, and it’s renewable to heat with it.

And you and your family in your home? The Boulter house is a passive solar design built in 1956. During a sunny day in winter when it’s 15 degrees out, we can enjoy it in our living room in our short-sleeve shirts.

What would you say has been the greatest invention of the last 10 years? The smartphone. I’d like to see it be a way to enter your destination and a person with a car responds saying, “I’m going your way!” By using a vetting process like eBay or Angie’s List, you could be assured your ride was trustworthy.

What’s your favorite Cincinnati place to take in the view? At the greenest zoo in the world! The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden’s Harold C. Schott Education Center’s rain garden on the south side is a perfect place to get a suntan from the solar panels. The education center is a perfect building to learn about Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, LEED, and the first LEED project I fell in love with.

How do you like to spend your money? I like not spending money by getting 100 mpg in my 2000 citrus green Honda Insight, the first car to receive an environmental award from the Sierra Club. Seriously, I race gliders as a hobby. Normally we fly about 200 miles in a 2 1/2-hour race window.

Where can we find you on a Saturday afternoon? A mile high playing with the clouds

What’s one thing you absolutely have to accomplish before you die? Achieve LEED certification on my Frank Lloyd Wright home. It will be the second in the world.

What’s the most terrifying thing you’ve ever done? Almost getting my hand cut off when I was working as a deckhand on Ohio River towboats. I wasn’t cut out to be Mark Twain.